More Risk Factors For Falling Than Just Aging

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 - 5:03pm
Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 - 8:45am

Over the next 12 months, one in three Arizonans over the age of 65 will have a fall that results in injury, according to the Arizona Department of Health. The risk of falling is not unusual as we age, but younger people are also at risk.

"Certainly by mid-40s if you haven’t been living a healthy lifestyle, you may putting yourself at higher risk," said Wayne Tormala, bureau chief at the Arizona Department of Health Services. He says his agency is seeing an increasing number of people in their 40s taking a spill. Falling can result in serious injuries that go beyond a broken bone, especially among older adults.

"In addition to the physical harm and risk is the social isolation that happens once a person falls and they develop a fear of falling," said Tormala.

Kathleen Cameron is with Center for Healthy Aging at the National Council on Aging. She says regardless of how old you are, conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity can increase a person’s risk of falling. Other risk factors include medications.

"Particular psychoactive medications that can affect balance and we’re seeing more use of those medication in younger populations," Cameron said. "So that’s another factor why people in their 40s might be experiencing changes in balance."

Back in Arizona, falling results in more than 800 deaths per year, says Tormala, as well as 40,000 emergency room visits and 14,000 hospitalizations.

If you like this story, Donate Now!

Like Arizona Science Desk on Facebook